Brown-headed Cowbird – Molothrus ater
I was sorting my summer pictures getting ready to put my annual calendar together when I came upon this picture. I dismissed it earlier in the summer as a starling but now, with my seasoned birding eyes, I id’ed it as a cowbird. And I was correct.
As a bird, this is not the family you want nesting in your neighborhood. They lay their eggs in over 220 different bird species’ nest and then skip town. Dead-beat parents! Some species such as house finches and cardinals have a defense mechanism built into their family life – they are strict vegetarians. Cowbirds need a little meat in their diet so the fledglings do not survive. Sadly, neither do the finches. Thus us the circle of life.